Highly regarded by many as one of the best players in the 2018 NFL Draft, Saquon Barkley was drafted second overall by the New York Giants, making him one of the highest drafted running backs in recent years. It's not surprising that many believe he could break rookie records, just not Eric Dickerson.
After running for 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns throughout three years at Penn State, Barkley is expected to immediately play a big role right out of the gate next season with the Giants, meaning he could have a breakout first year like Ezekiel Elliott did with the Dallas Cowboys two years ago.
In that year, Elliott came close to breaking Dickerson’s rookie rushing record from his first season with the Los Angeles Rams back in 1983 when he rushed for 1,808 yards and 18 touchdowns on 390 carries. Barkley could break it in 2018, but the Rams legend doesn't think it will happen for one key reason.
Dickerson said during an interview with TMZ Sports that Barkley won't break the record not because he isn't a good enough player, but because the offensive line in front of him isn't at the same standard which he had in his rookie year in Los Angeles in 1983.
He said: “No. Not a chance. They’ve got no offensive line. Nothing against their line, but you’ve got to have a line. I gotta say when I came in the league with the Los Angeles Rams that line had been together for about six years. Jackie Slater told me and I didn’t even know it. He said the only thing we were missing was a back put in that position.”
“You never know how a season is going to work out. He could have a great season. I hope he does. I’m always pulling for the running back because they try to say the running back position is down. Most definitely, I want him to have a great season. Don’t I want him to break my record? Absolutely not. He can get close, but he ain’t going to break that record.”
Barkley's best season at Penn State was in 2016 when he rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns on 272 carries. He was averaging 5.5 yards per carry that year, and over 100 yards a game that year.
It's therefore easy to see why Barkley could come close or possibly break Dickerson's rookie record this year. It's a big goal, but not as impossible as the Rams legend thinks.